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    PCGS 1909 PR 65. The proofs of 1909 were struck in the Satin style, or in what has become known as the Roman Gold finish. More archaically it was known as the Brilliant Matte style, a not inappropriate term for this finish, and one that more accurately conveys the appearance of the coins than the vague "Roman Finish" term. These Satin proofs are devoid of the coarse granularity on 1908 and 1911-15 proofs, and have a lighter finish halfway between matte and mirrored, but to call them mirrored would certainly be inaccurate.
    Of the 139 proofs struck, it seems unlikely that more than 50-75 pieces could exist today, and in gem condition, this is one of the rarest of all matte proof gold issues. Akers was only able to trace 18 auction appearance of this date over a thirty year period. As a date, the 1909 is twice as rare as the 1908, in part because the novelty of the first year of issue status of the 1908 date assured more would be preserved, and also in part because of the brighter finish in 1909 some unknowing or uncaring collectors may have spent them or may not have recognized the difference between a Roman Gold proof and a clean, well struck business strike. To demonstrate how scarce proofs of this date are, we repeat a story first related in the Garrett Sale (Part II) that Robert Garrett had a habit of ordering a gold proof set each year directly from the mint. For some unknown reason he failed to do so in 1909, and it took Henry Chapman four years to procure one through advertisements and other solicitations.
    The surfaces of this piece are noticeably brighter than those of other, non-Roman Finish years, but some of the natural brightness is subdued by rich orange-gold color seen on the coin overall and contrasting steel-blue patina in the center of each side. We can find no contact marks or shiny spots to account for the grade, and must assume that the graders did not find the coloration as attractive as we do and discounted the grade as a result. To this date, 27 pieces have been graded Proof 65 by PCGS (6/94) with 3 graded higher. A desirable example of this rarely seen date. (NGC ID# 289H, PCGS# 7958)

    Weight: 4.18 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

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    Auction Dates
    July, 1994
    27th-30th Wednesday-Saturday
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